Around the NRA: Competitor Lands a Dream Job


New Competitive Shooting Director has experience in the field

John Parker was good enough to tell us a little bit about his new boss — Dennis Willing, Director of NRA’s Competitive Shooting Division.

Fairfax, Virginia – NRA Competitive Shooting now has a long-time competitor at the helm. NRA Benefactor Member Dennis L. Willing, or Denny as his friends know him, is the new Director of the NRA Competitive Shooting division.

“As a competitor, I was offered my dream job and I intend to make the most of it,” said Willing.

Willing replaces Mike Krei, who retired after leading the division for six years. Willing will oversee a staff of 23 in managing over 11,000 NRA-sanctioned tournaments and over 40 national shooting championships. Hundreds of thousands of gun owners take part in these competitions nationwide, from the novice to the world-class competitor.

The wealth of experience that Willing brings to the position is unprecedented. A list of his accomplishments would include:

  • Retired Michigan State Police Detective Lieutenant
  • United States Marine Corps Vietnam veteran
  • Two-time Conventional Pistol, Police Champion
  • Three-Michigan State Pistol Champion
  • NRA Police Combat Governors Twenty winner
  • Quadruple distinguished shooter in High Power Rifle, Conventional Pistol, Police Combat Revolver, and Police Combat Pistol
  • Numerous NRA national records
  • NRA referee at Camp Perry and NRA National Police Shooting Championship
  • 25 year officer of the Central Michigan Rifle and Pistol League
  • Former Captain of the Michigan State Police Pistol Team
  • Former NRA Board member, served on five NRA Competition Committees
  • Lifelong hunter & Second Amendment activist

As a referee at the National Matches, Willing has a long history with Camp Perry, the NRA, and competitive shooting. As a Camp Perry referee for many years, Willing has a soft spot in his heart for the National Matches. “Camp Perry is a very special place for competitors” he remarked when asked about his time spent at the National Matches.

Since 1980, Willing has been involved in the National Matches “in one capacity or another.” He competed in the Pistol and High Power Championships, sometimes shooting both Championships in the same year. He became a referee at the National Matches after refereeing Police Pistol Combat (PPC) matches, a discipline in which Willing has also competed. His experience as a competitor and a referee is an asset to the NRA Competitive Shooting division, and lends credibility to the sport.

Willing is also an expert on the NRA Competition Rules for many disciplines, as a competitor and former committee member. “We (referees) ensure that the rules are enforced to create a level playing field for everyone,” Dennis says. “We never make a call without going to the (rule) book.” In 2011, as a member of the Law Enforcement Assistance Committee, Dennis accepted the assignment to rewrite the entire rule book for the first time in a generation.

Dennis plans to keep competing as the NRA Competitive Shooting Director. He competed in the 2012 MidwayUSA & NRA Bianchi Cup and plans to shoot the championship again in 2012. “The Bianchi Cup is the most prestigious pistol match in the world and it was a real highlight in my shooting career to have been the first Director of Competitive Shooting to have competed in the events.”

As for Willing’s plans for the future, he wants to focus on improving competitive shooting.

“I will attend as many tournaments as I can where I will talk with as many competitors as I can. I want to hear what they have to say then take that information back to the NRA competitive shooting committees and the NRA staff to see where improvements can be made.”

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